COVID Lockdown at Apple Chinese Factory Lifted; DoorDash Announces Layoff; Starlink Jacks Up Ukraine Prices; Honda ‘Sensing 360’ Coming

The world’s largest iPhone plant in Jung Joe in central China will reopen after a COVID lockdown. CNN reports that Apple has lost about a billion dollars a week with the Foxconn factory closed. There are normally about 200,000 workers employed at the complex. There have been protests there predating the wider ones across Chinese cities, with some workers escaping guards and fleeing. In the 5 years between 2014 and 2019, Apple cut reliance on Chinese production of its product line from 47% to 44%. That dropped to 41% in 2020, and 36% in 2021. They are still moving more iPhone production to places like India, though. With 70% of iPhones made in just China, Apple will move more production out…not only to India, but also to Vietnam, Taiwan, and even the US. 

DoorDash will cut 1250 workers in what the company says is an adjustment in size after the company grew too fast during the pandemic. According to theverge.com, the laid off workers will get 17 weeks of compensation, their February 2023 stock vest, and healthcare benefits through the end of March 2023. 

With widespread loss of mobile networks and net access in Ukraine, Starlink (which is owned by Elon Musk’s SpaceX) has started jacking up prices for the dishes and service, citing ‘market conditions.’ In what sounds like good, old fashioned price gouging, arstechnica.com says the prices are going up from $385 earlier this year to $700 for new Starlink customers. The monthly fee had been dropped from $100 a month to $60 to celebrate Ukraine Independence day August 24th…those will now go back up to $75. No comment from either SpaceX or Musk on the price increases. 

Honda’s level 2 driver assist system, which is already rolling out in China, should be getting to the US a bit at a time over the next few years…with the whole suite standard by 2030. Engadget.com reports that the Sensing 360 and Sensing Elite systems use 5 millimeter wave sensors in addition to the monocular camera on present models to give 360 degree sensing. This will allow hands free lane changing (which several other manufacturers already have) as well as help avoid ‘abnormal conditions.’ Honda didn’t say what those might be. Some of the features will be hitting higher end Hondas like the touring models next year, but again…the entire suite of features won’t be standard on all models until 2030. 

I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘Technified’ for now. 

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